SUPERINTELLIGENCE (also called Artificial General Intelligence, I'll call it SI) is the one for me. It literally kept me up at night as I was researching it.
Eli Yudkowsky is the "warner" we profile in the AI/SI chapter.
If you don't know his work, it is fascinating, as is he.
Why am I afraid of superintelligence?
A bit of an analytical cheat... but a place to start is that Elon Musk calls the flirtation with superintelligence "Summoning the demon," Bill Gate and Stephen Hawking are also scared.
Take as a given:
1. SI will be here in the next say... 100 years. I think more like 30... (Check Nick Bostrom's surveys if you doubt this)
2. It will be 2-1000 times "smarter" than the smartest human. (And that is will keep programming / learning to get smarter and smarter.)
3. The promise of SI is so profound that it will be impossible to govern the international and public and private efforts to make it...
So, taking that as a given (thank you), we now have the most powerful entity we can imagine, and actually more powerful than our imagination allows.
The positive possibilties are profound: immortality, no hunger, no need to labor... the solution to every technical or scientific puzzle we can dream of, and many we can not...
But we have NO IDEA how it will respond to us, it's motives, it's "ethics."
Will it hunt us like the terminator or love us like we are a puppy or like it is our tool?
NO ONE KNOWS
Aggressively. Honestly. Directly, and through non-obvious means that will raise the price on the Kremlin so high that they will chose to stop.
Obama's meek steps against the Russians before he left office (closing a building on Long Island... kicking some FSB cover officers out...) was milquetoast and obvious.
Sec. Mattis and Sec. Tillerson should have the gravitas to deliver a very stern warning to Putin, and we should be fully prepared to carry out the threats they would deliver.
The threats/responses would need to increase the economic pain to the Russian elite, and minimize the FSB's ability to operate so freely. I'd suggest steps such as funding new natural gas pipelines that remove Russia's monopoly provision status in some key markets, supporting Putin's opposition, exposing the depths of Putin's Kleptocracy, seizing some of his assets squirreled away around the world.
This President does not seem interested in confronting the cancer of Russian information ops into our and our allys' elections. It is an open question as to why.
We discuss the Steele Dossier here in what I was told was the #1 most read piece on Quartz last week:
Likewise, we discuss intelligence operations and decision making in the conclusion of our #1 Bestseller Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes. https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0062488023
The media CERTAINLY loves to scare us as they keep the commercials from bumping into one another. Fear and bombast, on both sides, seem to keep us glued to the TV/blog/print, etc.
(And being afraid actually makes us more -ist... racist, sexist, nationalist, etc.)
And this is the safest time in history. We appear to have dominion over the major historical killers of humanity: disease, war, famine.
But while we have the technological advancement to conquer those traditional horsemen of the apocalypse, we still make human errors to let them in to destroy us.
While many catastrophes are indeed "acts of god," the cost from those catastrophes are nearly always, "errors of man." In our #1 Bestseller, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0062488023 We address JUST THIS ISSUE.
How can humanity NOT get slammed by a major catastrophe every year or so? We think we found a solution! Listen to the highly credible, data-driven expert who has warned of almost every recent catastrophe. They are other there, we just need to listen.